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Running in Place: Perspectives from the COVID-19 Shutdown

Meets and practices might be canceled, but that doesn't mean we stop running. The Trackster team shares our thoughts and stories about training and life during the coronavirus shutdown.

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As the world grinds to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, the rhythm of the running calendar has been thrown off. Any other year we would be gearing up for early season meets, hitting key workouts, and preparing to lower our PRs. However, as practices, meets, and seasons get canceled, runners everywhere are still lacing up their shoes everyday and putting in the work so that they are prepared for the next opportunity to race and compete. We asked some of the members of our team to share their thoughts and experiences on training, running, and life in general during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Emmett Scully (Founder)

The past few months I’ve been based out of the now heavily infected city of Seattle. So when my girlfriend and I saw an opportunity to drive out of town and quarantine in a cabin just outside of Big Sky, Montana, we quickly packed our things and dipped.

I feel fortunate during this global quarantine to have a business I can still work on from home. Further, many users have increased their Trackster usage while being separated from college/high school teams. I’d easily prefer less usage and have the spring track seasons across the world go on as planned, but as it has been stated before, health comes first!

It’s a strange time because runners on an individual level can still go about their training runs without much difference. However, team operations and in-person practices are just about all completely canceled. This has made it tough on the running community since just about every member has clear outlined goals that they’re looking to chase in May, June and beyond. Everything now is up in the air. Will there be any time trials to grab a PR despite this chaos? Joe, who writes these blogs, said that the entire running world just understood what it felt like to get a season ending stress fracture, a lesson that can be beneficial in the long run.

In the end we can’t be anything but optimistic. It’s always darkest before dawn and one day, hopefully soon, the world will return to their daily practices with even more vigor than before the Covid-19 outbreak. All we can do now is stay safe, stay healthy and read from our ambassadors about their experiences during this unprecedented time!

Marco Ferrier (Ambassador)

This unfortunate quarantine and virus pandemic has canceled all my spring races and training. My school doesn’t allow my coach to provide workouts, and they even closed the track!! I’ve just been doing some solo easy runs until all of this gets sorted out. I was looking forward to track season this year but things don’t go the way you want them to sometimes.

This week I’m supposed to start online school and that kind of seems fun. The only thing about online that I'm mad about is that I can’t see my friends anymore. This gives me a lot of free time in the afternoon to focus on stretching, core, and strength.

I guess track is over now, for me anyways, so I'll just focus on getting in shape for cross and start doing base runs. Just stay positive (not for corona of course!) and keep running!

Anna Macon Corcoran (Trackster Ambassador)

As of this morning, we were training with the hopes of having a track season after we returned to school in mid-April. At 2 o’clock today, the Virginia governor closed all public schools for the remainder of the year, which means track is canceled. This was heartbreaking, especially for seniors who have now already run their last high school races. My coach can still send us training but now there is little motivation for most people to do it. I am enjoying running every day, and it’s very funny how many people are now out and about. There are more runners than I’ve ever seen before!

I am enjoying online school because I can #grind and get all my schoolwork done early in the week, leaving me with free time later on. There is little else to do during the day so I look forward to running more than I ever have before!

My new motto is #can’tcancelthegrind and I am LIVING by that right now. They have closed the tracks and canceled school, but they can’t cancel the grind. I will run and no one can stop me. I am hoping for a quarantine-free summer, maybe we can have some track races? Either way, I really hope this is over by then.

Lachlan Stevens (Ambassador)

This quarantine and pandemic has affected my spring training because I have not been able to see my coach, so therefore all of my training has been very repetitive. There have not been any big workouts or anything specialized to each person. Luckily, my coach is good at his job so he still sends out suggested training plans over email and trusts us enough to keep up with our stretches, drills, and other stuff of that nature.

My life this week has been very weird because I’m not used to being home, so being forced to stay home besides when I’m at practice is not fun. Both of my jobs are closed so I don’t have any work to do, and I’m stuck doing homework.

My predictions going forward are optimistic because if this pandemic is solved by the summer, it is going to be the best summer ever. I think that Arlington County might close schools for the rest of the year, but I’m not sure. It’s all really up in the air right now, so the future is unclear. As far as training, I think it will continue at the stage it’s at, with small groups of 2-6 meeting up to do workouts and practice together, but there will be no coach or higher-authority instruction. Sadly, I don’t think there will be any big meets this season so that sucks, but it’s understandable.

Nolan Campbell (Ambassador)

Practice on Thursday, March 12 consisted of the sprinters pretending to do a hard workout and distance running a ladder and the entire team crowding in the locker room for the coaches to let us know we have three weeks off. As of now we plan to go back to practice and competition on April 6th, but I think COVID-19 has different plans for us.

Right now training consists of super discrete runs far away from school campus and hiding from school administrators and coaches. Hopes are still high that we will return to the season in April, but training for all the athletes and teams will certainly fall short with the closure of all school facilities across Ohio.

It's incredibly frightening to not know what will come next for the entire world, not just the athletes. The only thing I have figured out so far is keep my head up, keep running, and keep praying that God has it all in his plans.

Cameron Stark (Ambassador)

The pandemic and quarantine has made some small changes in my spring training. I was in the flow of things at Ohio State University balancing classes, running, and anything in between but was sent home just short of the end of the semester. I came home hoping to be able to train with a couple of old teammates on the track team and get some advice as well from my old coach, but after the first week of being home things went a little more downhill. The OHSAA has postponed any meets for now and schools are all online, meaning that there is no official track practice. Although this disruption has put a small pause on normal training it has been able to bring me back to my roots at home and enjoy training more than I was before. There might be a lot more downside to all of this right now but you still have to look for any positives that you can.

This week my life looks pretty boring and can simply be put as wake-up, schoolwork, run, be bored, bedtime, and repeat. Ohio is now on a lockdown for two weeks and we aren’t supposed to go anywhere unless it’s an emergency. This is hard because I’m home and I at least was hoping to get to see friends and have some fun, but it doesn’t look like that’s happening.

Looking forward, I’m just hoping for the best. Maybe the seniors will still get a chance to compete at the state meet since it hasn’t been canceled yet. Other than that it’s just going to be school work, running, and chilling out.

Joe Yuengert (Marketing & Content Manager)

One of the phrases I have been repeating to myself over the last couple weeks has been the Serenity Prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." While I am not religious, in tough moments of seemingly insurmountable dread or anxiety this statement serves as a mantra for me to focus on the concrete action that is within my control and to let go of what I cannot control.

I have had a rocky relationship with running over the past few years since injuries cut short my college running career. When there is no race on the horizon, no teammates to banter with on training runs, or no PRs to lower, getting out the door and engaging in the daily ritual of running can seem pointless. Without the anchor of training, racing, and community, life takes its course and the joy and structure that running provides becomes a distant memory.

Since normal life as we know it has come to a halt and we have sequestered ourselves at home, running has been one of the few things within my control. If I don't get out the door for at least a few miles on the bike path behind my apartment the sluggishness of forced domestic life leaves me feeling gross and powerless. That run has been the best part of my day for the past few weeks and it reminds me of all the reasons I fell in love with the sport in the first place. While there will be a lot of damage and hardship caused by this pandemic, I am grateful that it has given me the chance to fully appreciate how much running means to me.

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